Alright, well maybe they could be – but probably not.
Let me preface this post with a disclaimer: I am not Italian. I make no claims to authenticity of these meatballs to be anything like the traditional Italian meatballs that would be served over a big bowl of spaghetti, lovingly made by your little old Italian grandma. They are not made of beef and do not have any pork in them.
They’re made with ground turkey, have oats in them instead of bread crumbs, and most importantly, are gluten free.
Since starting my gluten free journey last month, I had yet to try making a gf pasta dish. I had a strong inclination that it just wouldn’t live up to its gluten filled counterpart. Much to my surprise, I was wrong. And unlike last time with my soup debacle, it was good to be wrong!
It was a bit of an overwhelming experience standing in the gluten free section of my local Shoprite, staring up at rows and rows of pasta boxes. I clearly had not done my research. I had no idea what brand to choose and no clue which type was the best. Brown rice pasta, white rice pasta, corn pasta, quinoa pasta, and then there were combinations of all the above. After what seemed like an eternity, with blind faith, I grabbed two different kinds. One was an organic brown rice spaghetti and the other a quinoa/corn blend of a shaped noodle. Hopefully, one of them would surely be good.
The first box, Jovial inherently good, so far has hit the mark. It contains only two ingredients, brown rice flour and water and is a 100 % organic. I cooked it as directed for 11 minutes, in a large pot of well salted water and it came out perfect. I’ll let you know how the other box, Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta turns out when I make it.
Now onto the meatballs –
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never made meatballs before. I’ve made lots of meatloaves though (it’s one of my husband’s favorite dishes) and decided to make my meatballs in basically the same way – but this time, a mini rolled into balls version. Is this the real way to do it? I don’t know. Regardless, they turned out great.
While deciding on which pasta to buy at the store, I looked for gf bread crumbs as well. I quickly realized there no way I was going to pay that much money for such a small amount. $4 for maybe 2 cups of crumbs? Nuh-uh, not happening. Gluten free oats would work just fine as a replacement. This time I ran my knife over the oats a few times to into finer pieces so that they sort of mimicked bread crumbs a little more. A quick spin in my spice grinder would have worked well too.
I combined all my ingredients, ground turkey, lots of fresh chopped parsley, parmasen cheese, an egg, garlic powder, splash or two of milk, then rolled them into cute little 1.5 inch balls. Pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Done. It was surprisingly a quick weeknight meal. I served the pasta and meatballs with a pesto sauce to let the meatballs shine through.
(Makes about 10 meatballs)
- 1.3 lbs ground turkey
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup gluten free oats, roughly chopped to finer pieces
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves of fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- couple splashes of milk, as needed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add more oats or milk if needed to reach desired consistency to form mixture into 1.5 inch balls.
- Place meatballs on a greased baking sheet.
- Baked for 20-25 until cooked through.
- Serve with pasta and enjoy.